Garmin Forerunner 201

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Garmin Forerunner 201

If you walk or run for exercise, the Garmin Forerunner 201 can be a personal trainer you wear on your wrist. It measures and saves your workout times and distances, and lets you monitor your actual pace against a goal you've set. And when you need it, the GPS guidance can direct you to a specific location.

A couple of nuisances with any exercise, is monitoring your performance and recording your progress. The Garmin Forerunner 201 lets you do both of these automatically. Using its Virtual Partner function, you enter your time, distance, and pace goals. Then as you run, the display shows two animated figures, you and your "partner". If you're either ahead or behind your goals, your figure will also be displayed as ahead or behind the partner figure. Below the figures is the difference in time, distance, pace, or another type of measurement you select.

In addition to the Virtual Partner, the Forerunner 201 automates lap timing and interval training. For laps, simply enter the distance and each lap will be measured separately. And the Auto Pause function takes care of interruptions that happen, such as stopping for traffic. It pauses the timer when your pace drops below a selected level and then resumes once you start up again. With the interval training function, you can set an exercise distance and a rest time, an exercise distance and a rest distance, an exercise time and a rest time, or an exercise time and a rest distance. And whatever your exercise routine, you can set tone alerts for signalling if you're ahead or behind a goal pace or reach a specified distance or time.

To find your current performance with the Garmin Forerunner 201, you can use any of the three Data Screens displays. The Timer Screen shows your time, pace and distance. The Current Lap Screen has the lap pace, lap time, and lap distance. And the Custom Screen lets you track any 3 items you choose, from a list of 19 types of measurements including calories burned.

Like a faithful assistant, the Forerunner 201 not only tells you how you're doing, it also saves the records for previous workouts. It saves up to 5,000 laps with any number of laps per run. A track log of up to 250 position points is saved for the last 10 runs and 3,000 points for the most recent run. The run record can be viewed showing totals for all runs, or broken down by the day or week, or just the last run. If you want to keep longer term records, Garmin has free logbook software to let you download the information to your PC. An interface cable is provided for this data transfer.

The interface cable is also connected to a recharger for maintaining the lithium ion battery used by the Garmin Forerunner 201. With typical use, the battery will supply power for up to 15 hours. Also contained within its 3.3" W x 1.7" H x .7" D, waterproof case, is a GPS receiver which every second precisely updates your latitude, longitude, and elevation. It lets you mark a location (and save up to 100), find and navigate to a location (including the nearest), and return to a starting point. And when in the Navigation Mode, a pointer arrow shows the direction to travel when heading to a location. The LCD screen has backlighting and adjustable contrast, so the image is sharp with whatever light is available.